Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 28, 2005}   Update

I now have ~nine and a half pages (single-spaced) of my chapter 1 written… that doesn’t include figures (of which I have at least three to include) or references… and I still have to write the sections on “Fetal Programming/Fetal Origins of Adult Disease,” “Animal Models” and “Thesis Objectives” (all of which I’ve done the research for, but just need to get written down). Plus I need to re-organize the section on “Fetal Bone Development” (which currently looks as if I cracked my skull open and everything I’ve ever read on FBD has poured out haphazardly onto the page). I think that, with some luck, I may be done this thesis in time for the 2010 Olympics.

My back hurts from sitting in this stinkin’ chair so long, writing my damn chapter 1. More specifically, my back hurts when I get up out of this chair… like I’ve been in the same position for soooo long, that it’s been permanently deformed and screams in agony if I move. Is that normal?

{July 22, 2005}   Paper Accepted

While not directly related to my thesis, a paper written by my supervisor, my labmate and I just got accepted to the journal Alcohol. Yay!! So now I have an article in a journal called Bone and an article in a journal called Alcohol… that’s right, I don’t believe in publishing in any journal that has *any* superfluous words in its title… none of this “The Journal of…” nonsense.

{July 21, 2005}   Inertia

I’ve discovered that once I get to a point where something is completed (e.g., a chapter), I have real trouble getting myself to start the next part. At first it’s like, “oh, I’ll just take a little break and watch this movie/check out this website/whatever”… and then it’s like “oh, before I start the next thing, I should really do some laundry/vacuum/pay the bills/update my thesis blog/etc.”… and the next thing I know it’s three days later and I haven’t done a stitch of work. I wonder what that says about me….

{July 16, 2005}   Chapter 3 Draft Done!

A draft of chapter 3 is now done and ready for my supervisor to read (and, most likely, rip to shreds). It’s good timing, because the new Harry Potter book comes out today, so I can enjoy reading it knowing that I’ve finished that. Granted, I was expecting to have my entire lit review done by this point, but you can’t have everything in life, now can you?

{July 15, 2005}   Coolest.Feature.Ever

So I’m reading an article online today (which, in itself is already super cool — I almost never need to actually go to a library anymore! I can sit at my computer all day without ever moving a muscle or burning a calorie! And we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic going on… but I digress). So I’m reading the article and I click on one of the figures to have a closer look and I see a button that says “PowerPoint slide for teaching.” So, of course, I’ve gotta click on that to check it out — apparently this journal prepares the figures from the articles as PowerPoint slides, complete with citation and the journal’s logo… I may never have to do any work of my own again!

{July 11, 2005}   Fun with Spell Check

Apparently the word “neuropilin” isn’t in Microsoft’s dictionary. Which is fine — it’s a scientific word that isn’t common in every day usage (in case you are interested, it’s a protein involved in blood vessel and nerve cell development). But when spell check gave it’s suggestion of what word I might be looking for, it suggested necrophilia. Oh spell check, you have such a dirty mind!

{July 10, 2005}   Time Management

It was 9:30 p.m. before I actually sat down to work on my thesis today (well, I guess technically that was yesterday). Who knew that it was possible to procrastinate that long?

{July 9, 2005}   Thesis Outline

Thesis Outline

Chapter 1: Literature Review

  1. Fetal Programming/Fetal Origins of Adult Disease
  2. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  3. Growth Retardation
    1. Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical
    2. Causes (Ethanol, Malnutrition, Genetic Disorders, other teratogens (smoking, caffeine??)) – compare & contrast

  4. Fetal Bone Development
    1. Endochondral vs. Intramembranous
    2. Stages of Endochondral Bone Development
    3. Factors Regulating Endochondral Bone Development

  5. Calcium Regulation
    1. normal
    2. during pregnancy
    3. fetal

  6. Animal Models
    1. Animal Models of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
      1. pros & cons of different methods of E administration
      2. comparing animal models to humans (BAC issue; trimester issue?)

    2. Animal Models of Fetal Bone Development
      1. pros & cons of different species

  7. Thesis Objectives

    Chapter 2: Dose Response Paper

    Chapter 3: Histology Paper

    Chapter 4: Discussion

    1. Discussion and conclusions relating manuscript chapters to each other and to the discipline or field of study
    2. Strengths/limitations
    3. Future Directions
      1. Elucidating Mechanisms (immunohistochemistry; DNA microarry, intramembranous ossification, calcium supplementation/deficiency)
      2. Biomarker for alcohol exposure for diagnosis of ARND (how specific is the bone effect? how sensitive?)
      3. Fetal programming (potential for long term effects)
      4. Bone fracture repair?
      5. Calcification of the artery during atherosclerosis recapitulates endochondral ossification – would ethanol affect it?


    1. figures not included in Dose Response Paper
    2. figures not included in Histology Paper (if any)
    3. Animal Care certificates

      {July 9, 2005}   Progress So Far

      Since I’m starting this blog after starting the actual thesis writing, I should probably give some background. I’m working on a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

      My thesis will consist of four chapters:

      1. Literature Review – outline drafted (on a beach in Santa Barbara), awaiting supervisor’s feedback
      2. Dose Response Study – already completed
      3. Histology Study – 3/4 of 1st draft written
      4. Discussion – outline drafted (on a beach in Santa Barbara), awaiting supervisor’s feedback

      OK, now you are up-to-speed. Lucky you. I better get back to work on the discussion for chapter 3. Yeesh.

      OK, so I’m gonna try this whole blogging thing out. But since I have absolutely nothing to say, I’m going with a theme blog (you know, like the guy whose blog consists of photos of every meal he eats). A “writing-my-thesis” blog. Probably the first ever thesis writing themed blog. There’s probably a good reason for that too.

      This is not just an elaborate procrastinating project… doing this when I should actually just be writing the damned thesis. No, really. I’m not procrastinating. You’re procrastinating.

      et cetera